BOSTON, Aug. 22, 2017 — While we are officially in the last leg of summer, many are starting to think ahead to the season of pumpkins, football and sweaters. But the travel highlight for autumn is the wash of color that sweeps over much of the United States and Canada. For those hoping to get an eyeful of the crisp yellow, orange and red hues of fall, the travel experts at Cheapflights.com, the leader in finding and publishing online travel deals, pulled together a guide outlining where, when and how to leaf peep this year.
While the first day of autumn is September 22, the fall foliage season gets underway in some parts of North America as early as the beginning of September and continues until late October. Getting the most of season requires timing and planning. Our guide offers tip and our picks for top leafing peeping spots at points throughout the season.
Here are 5 of the 10 fall foliage destinations that made the list, grouped by when to go to catch the show:
If you’re traveling in early September
- Aspen, Colorado – Leaf peepers have to act fast in Aspen, CO, as the start and end of the changing of leaves from green to yellow, orange and red typically lasts just a week. It’s difficult to predict when the leaves will change, but, once they arrive, it’s easy to get Instagram-worthy pics. Stroll through downtown Aspen, kayak the Roaring Fork and Colorado River, hike Snowmass and ride the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain — there are leaf peeping options for everyone.
If you’re traveling in late September
- Kootenay Rockies, British Columbia, Canada – Located in southeastern British Columbia, the Kootenay Rockies afford leaf peepers picture-perfect fall foliage. A short drive from Canadian Rockies International Airport, the region known for its glacier-capped mountains, rivers and alpine lakes, is an increasingly popular spot for seeing autumn leaves change. Head to this scenic spot, nestled along the Rocky Mountains, to admire fall’s hues via a multi-day hike along the Rockwall Trail, a soak in natural hot springs or a drive along the Hot Springs Circle Route, a route along the Columbia River and past hoodoos (tall, thin rock formations caused by natural erosion).
- Upper Peninsula, Michigan – With 7 million acres of tree coverage, the hardwood forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula turn fiery red, gold and orange between mid-September and mid-October. Keweenaw Peninsula, technically an island separated from the rest of the Upper Peninsula by the Portage Canal, is one of the most picturesque places to leaf peep because of its abundance of sugar maples, birch and oak trees all aglow. Drive along the 9.5-mile Brockway Mountain Drive, which affords bird’s eye views of Lake Superior, flanked each autumn by colorful fall foliage. Houghton County Memorial Airport is just 7 miles from Keweenaw National Park, making it an easy journey for hopeful leaf peepers.
If you’re traveling in early October
- Stowe, Vermont -There are plenty of places to leaf peep in Vermont as forests cover 3 quarters of the state, and Vermont boasts the highest percentage of maple trees in the U.S. The color change starts in northern Vermont near the Canadian border and at higher elevations in early September and progresses south and into the valleys from late September to the end of October. The fullest color can be found from late-September in the north to mid-October in the south. The first 2 weekends of October are the state’s busiest of the year, according to Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing, so early trip planning is advised as accommodations fill up quickly. One of the best places for leaf peeping is Stowe, VT. Known for its ski resorts, Stowe is approximately 50 miles and just under 90 minutes by car from Burlington International Airport. Driving along Smugglers Notch mountain pass affords picture-perfect panoramas. Plus, the area includes points of interest like the Alpine Slide at Stowe Mountain Resort and Bingham Falls.
If you’re traveling in late October
- Oakland, Maryland – The tiny town of Oakland, MD, in west-central Maryland is arguably one of the best destinations for leaf peeping in the mid-Atlantic and beyond. It’s worth the 160-mile drive from Washington Dulles International Airport or 175-mile drive from Ronald Reagan Washington Airport along the state’s scenic byways. Here, the changing fall foliage is celebrated during the Autumn Glory Festival, which celebrates its 50th year Oct. 11-15, 2017. The free, 5-day fall festival includes parades, concerts, art exhibits, and arts and crafts.
To find out about other ideal leaf peeping spots in Canada and the U.S. and to get some tips on how to make the most of your autumnal getaway, read Cheapflights.com’s Fall foliage pilgrimage: Where, when and how to leaf peep this year at www.cheapflights.com/news/best-places-to-see-fall-foliage.
Founded in 1996, Cheapflights is a leading global flight comparison and digital travel deals publishing platform that connects travelers to a wide variety of trusted brands, tips and information. More than 69 million people use its desktop, mobile and app products and 5.5 million subscribe to its digital travel deals across the U.S.
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